Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Winter weather brings bread pudding recipes out of hiding

I’ve been double-dipping today. So chilly outside it was a great day to huddle in the kitchen and try out not just one, but two new bread pudding recipes. I’d picked up a new cookbook in Barnes & Noble the other day, and I must admit I bought it mostly because of the enticing photo of chocolate-stuffed slow-cooker French toast - a bread pudding in disguise and with chocolate too – how could I resist? Then there was the blackberry-caramel bread pudding recipe that crossed my path recently – I decided to give that one a try too. Ah, the house is smelling sooooooooooo lovely.

I’m waiting for these puddings to finish cooking, so I’ll report on them in the next blog article. But meanwhile here’s another slow-cooker recipe I can’t wait to try – it’s made with whole wheat bread, dried pears (or a combo of pears and apricots), and has some booze and a crunchy, nutty topping. Thanks to Anne and Marlene for sharing this one!


1 loaf (about 1 pound) whole-wheat multi-grain bread, preferably stale, cut into large cubes (about 6 cups)

1 quart (4 cups) half-and-half
4 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons whiskey or bourbon
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
12 ounces dried pears or a combination of pears and apricots, chopped
Topping:1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon mixed together
1 1/2 cups walnuts or pecans, toasted
Whipped cream or yogurt

If bread is not stale: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spread bread cubes out on baking sheet and cook until toasted, about 10 minutes. Whisk half-and-half, eggs, sugar, whiskey, vanilla, salt and nutmeg together in large bowl. Toss bread cubes and dried fruit together and place into slow cooker. Pour custard over top and press down lightly until all bread is covered with custard. Cover and cook on LOW until pudding puffs and is just set, about 3 1/2 hours. Remove insert from slow cooker and cool on rack, about 20 minutes. Spoon pudding into large cups or bowls and sprinkle each serving with cinnamon-sugar, and toasted nuts. Top with whipped cream or yogurt, if desired. Serves 8.

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